You have a nice, perhaps beautiful mare that you love and are considering breeding her.
Does she have great bloodlines and conformation?
Is she is registered with a recognized breed registry and maybe even already approved for breeding?
If not, start with step #1 to insure your mare is a good candidate for breeding.
This step usually needs to be done in the late summer or fall of the year prior to breeding the mare because that is when most of the inspections take place.
If you have a mare that could be approved in multiple breed registries, you might want to go ahead and proceed with the remaining steps.
As I point out in step #2 it can simplify the foal registration and if you had her approved in one registry and later found a stallion only approved in another that you really liked, you might not be able to use him.
If you answered yes to all the previous questions and only want to breed for a foal in the same registry as your mare, then you are ready pick a stallion.
There are thousands out there to choose from, so how do you narrow down the field?
Take a look at these 10 important steps to make your choice a little easier:
- If your mare is already approved for breeding in one of the breed registries you should first consider the stallions that are approved in the same registry.This will simplify the registration of the foal.
- If your mare is not yet approved, or needs to be approved in a different registry, you will need to decide when to get this done.The safest time is before you breed or before the foal is born.If the mare is not approved or she was to die soon after the foal is born you will not be able to get papers on the foal in most breed registries.
Also, this is an important step in determining whether or not your mare should be bred by people who are experts at evaluating conformation, bloodlines, and gaits.
Sometimes they can even point you in the right direction for a stallion that is a good match for your mare.
If this isn’t possible you usually can have the mare approved at the same time that the foal is presented. Just be sure to check the rules before you breed.
- Choose a stallion that will improve your mare’s weak points (which you learned at her inspection for breeding) or will compliment her type.If color is important to you, you will have to learn about the genetics of color.It is still a gamble, but you improve your odds if you choose wisely.
Contact the stallion owners of the stallions you are considering or go to their web sites and look for a good conformation picture of the stallion, some video of his gaits, and some pictures of his offspring.If the offspring are old enough, find out what they are doing.
If you are looking for a Dressage horse you want to see that the stallion is producing Dressage horses.
- If the offspring are too young to be under saddle you can still look at their gaits and get a pretty good idea of what they can do.If you don’t feel that you have a good eye for this find someone who does and ask (or pay) for their opinion.
- The best indicator of a good stallion isn’t what he does, but what his offspring do – that is what you are going to get.Try to talk to some of the owners of the stallion’s offspring to find out about their character, rideablilty, and how hard or easy they were to train.
If possible, look at the dam of the offspring you like – is she a similar type to your mare?
If not you will probably not produce the same result.
- Many of the top producing stallions are only bred to top approved mares and have very expensive stud fees.If your mare is acceptable, a good match for the stallion and you want to pay the fee then this is a safe bet – they are proven producers.
However, if your mare or budget doesn’t fit these criteria you will have to consider a stallion that is younger or not a big producer.
This is a bigger gamble, but if you look at these stallions and any offspring they might have using the previous steps closely, you can usually find a suitable stallion after you also consider the remaining points.
- Ask to see the breeding contract and read it.Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.Most Warmblood stallions are breeding A.I. (artificial insemination) with either frozen or fresh semen (or both) available during a defined breeding season on the contract.
Ask about discounts – early booking, multiple mares, etc.
- Be sure your vet is very familiar with A.I.You will be wasting time and a lot of money with a vet that does not do this regularly and with a good degree of success.If one is not available in your area you will need to consider shipping your mare to either the stallion owner (if that is available and he is not too far away) or to the nearest clinic that can perform A.I. successfully.
- Some of the breed registries have stallion auctions early in the year that raise money for the organization.See if the stallion(s) you are interested in are offered on the auction if one is available.You can usually get a stallion at a reduced price – up to 50%.
- After you have narrowed down your list from steps 2 – 9, if one does not stand out, then pick the one that you like the best.Sometimes there is something about a stallion that cannot be measured or defined – you just know it when you see it.
There are no guarantees.
Breeding is a gamble and the end result is a surprise even when you do all these things, but if you do it should be a pleasant surprise.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments below.